Chocolate Cherry Cake with Marsala Cream and a Book Giveaway

Chocolate Cherry Cake | zoebakes 09

There has been lots of conversation about grains recently. Many opinions and theories and personal stories about whether or not they should be eaten, and if so, which ones, and by whom. One of the voices I trust the most on the topic is Maria Speck. She is endlessly thoughtful and has meticulously researched the subject. You will see both a passionate and intellectual pursuit of delicious grain filled recipes in her latest book “simply ancient grains.” A few years ago I would have warned you that some of these grains are a bit challenging to find, but thanks to folks like Maria, these grains can be found in most grocery stores and easily had online.

Instead of summarizing Maria’s words on the subject of grains, I invite you not only to take a look at her beautiful book, but also to read the words she recently wrote in the Washington Post on the importance of grains.

simply ancient grains | Maria Speck

As I flipped through Maria’s book I was struck by this photograph by Erin Kunkel. I just knew this was the recipe I’d start with. The chocolate cake looked absolutely perfect baked in a loaf pan, but I wanted a slightly more festive presentation, so I took Maria’s exact recipe, but just baked it in cake pans instead. Your friends and family will never know that this cake is made with whole grain Kamut flour (more about that in a minute), they’ll just know it is chocolatey and delicious.

Maria has generously offered to give a copy of her book, simply ancient grains, to a randomly chosen winner. Just leave a note in the comments for a chance to win.

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Grapefruit Posset with Campari Gelee (Confectionery Funnel Giveaway)

Grapefruit Posset | Zoebakes 07

This is a Posset. It has been around for a very long time, but chances are you’ve never heard of it. It is like a perfectly executed panna cotta, in texture and taste, but it is made without the gelatin. There is no fear that you will end up with creamy jello because you added too much gelatin. As a result you have to serve it in a cup because it’s so perfectly soft and it can’t hold its shape if inverted onto a plate. I’m smitten with this dessert and believe in my heart of hearts that it will become the next big thing in restaurants. Well, it should be at least.

Grapefruit Posset | Zoebakes 09

The creamy posset really needs no accessories, so you can serve it all by itself. But, I wanted to layer on the grapefruit flavor, so I made a bed of pound cake and then topped it with a grapefruit and Campari gelee. It is very rich, but the grapefruit and slight bitterness of the campari create a sophisticated “creamsicle” that is super refreshing.

Details below for the Rosle Confectionery Funnel giveaway.

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Trix Cake and a Movie Night Giveaway

Trix cake 11

We really have David Chang and Christina Tosi of the Momokuku restaurant group in NYC to thank for elevating breakfast cereal from a mere bowl of milk to high-end desserts. They’ve been serving cereal milk (you know the flavored milk at the end of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios) as panna cotta and soft serve ice creams at their Milk Bar to rave reviews. It’s created a bit of a sensation. I recently went to Travail, a local restaurant where the food is art and the chefs are entertainers, and what did I see on the pantry shelf, a box of Lucky Charms.  We all have fond childhood memories of reading the box as we ate the contents, but most adults I know wouldn’t sit down to a bowl of it in the morning. But, as a dessert? You bet, that makes total sense to me.

General Mills sent me a big selection of their cereals and challenged me to think outside the box, beyond breakfast and sticky marshmallow bars (not that there is anything wrong with either). I knew right away that Trix was going to be my muse. I always loved it as a kid. Everything from the silly rabbit commercials to that bright pink milk at the end of the bowl. I set out to create a cake using the bright colors and fruity flavors. For my first attempt I hoped to suspend the round cereal in cake batter to create a polka dot interior. As the cake baked I realized all the little colorful balls were floating to the top and I ended up with a layer of cereal confetti. It was pretty, but the cereal didn’t soften enough, so they were still crunchy and not a good texture in the cake. Then the perfect solution came to me…but, let me tell you about the movie giveaway first. (more…)

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Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is out TODAY, check out our Video and an Invitation!

pizza party

Today Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is finally available in stores. That sound you hear is me clinking a glass of bubbly. Please join us on our book tour, which starts TODAY at noon in the Har Mar Barnes & Noble. To find details and dates in your city click on the Events page.

Jeff and I wrote this book because we love pizza. So, when it came to making a video about the process, it had to reflect what a riot we have creating these recipes. You basically can’t bake a pizza without creating a party, whether it is for a night in front of a movie or a big gathering of friends in the back yard. Pick the crust and toppings to suit your mood and within minutes you have pizza, lots and lots of fresh pizza. In fact, we invite you all to join us for a #PizzaPartyin5 on November 15th, see below for more details.

We knew instantly who could capture the heart and soul of this project; Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple. Their work is visually stunning and they have such a joy about them, which is captured in their images. When they said they would do this video with us, I danced around my kitchen, I haven’t stopped yet. We hope you enjoy watching the video just as much as we did making it.

Here are some more images captured the day of the video shoot. All the pictures in this post were created by Todd Porter and Diane Cu and used with their permission. Thanks you two, they are all gorgeous. (more…)

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apple-pie

The Best Apple Pie (now with videos)

One of the glorious issues of a 20 year marriage is the honesty, brutal, albeit “loving,” honesty. Here’s the thing, Graham has never been head-over-heels-in-love with my pies. He always loves bits and pieces of them, but never the entire pie. Can you imagine what that does to a girl who prides herself on figuring out all things sugary. Believe me when I say that I have been on a 20 year mission to create THE perfect pie. Not just a great crust, or filling, but the entire package. Well, I can breath a sigh of relief, and have a moment of marital bliss….because, he declared this “the best pie I have EVER eaten.”  You can not know how important this day has been for me, as a professional pastry chef, as a wife and as a perfectionist. Challenge met.

To celebrate this victory I am teaming up with the fabulous folks at Emile Henry to give away three Apple-Red 12-Inch Pie Dishes, just in time for Thanksgiving. *See the bottom of the post for details on how to win. Giveaway is finished!

The keys to my winning pie were the apples, I used 6 different varieties, because it is apple season in MN and there are so many gorgeous apples to choose from. They all have different flavors, textures and colors. I like to mix them to create a more interesting pie, although I think you can get a very good result with just two kinds. Then there is the crust, which was made with 100% LARD. Yep, unless you are vegetarian, you really need to try it. I am madly in love with Lard. It requires a slightly gentle touch, but follow my directions and it will be tender, flaky and delicious! (more…)

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Pesto and Mozz Aebleskivers! (win an Aebleskiver package)

Nearly a year ago I made my first aebleskiver, thanks to the good folks at Aunt Else’s who introduced me to this fabulous culinary orb at the Mill City Farmer’s Market. They gave me a pan and a package of their mix and off I went. Now I make them with my sons on a regular basis. The boys love the process of cooking them almost as much as eating them. We’ve tried stuffing just about everything but the kitchen sink in the centers. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory. Seriously, if you cook anything in the shape of a sphere my kids will eat anything at all. Although I don’t always stick to the Aunt Else’s mix, I have to say it is better than any of the batters I’ve come up with so far. It is made with local, organic, whole grain ingredients so I can’t feel too guilty about using it on occasion. I’m still looking for the perfect recipe.

Last night was the threat of our first frost, which means winter is on its way and my garden is seeing its final days. Stefan came over to do a big harvest, which was bittersweet. I got such a gorgeous bounty, but it was one of the last. I will miss picking fresh veggies from my backyard farm. I dread going to the grocery store to buy things that I have picked for myself all summer. One of the plants in grave danger of being destroyed by the cold was the basil. I have LOTS of basil and in one cold snap it could all die. That was the inspiration for my pesto and mozzarella stuffed aebleskivers. Not exactly traditional, but a match made in heaven!

To win an Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver package see the directions at the bottom of the post. (more…)

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